Nate Adcock had a hell of a start last night, making just one mistake in five innings of work. Unfortunately, Adcock’s ‘start’ began in the 11th inning and his one mistake, a rotund slider to Adam Jones, ended up costing the Royals the game. While Adcock gets the loss, it is hard to put much blame on him. The Royals had this game thanks to seven shutout innings from Felipe Paulino (18.2 innings over 3 starts now, with just 5 runs allowed) and two timely hits only to see Jonathan Broxton blow the save by giving up two runs in the ninth.
Having entered the game with a 14-0 record when leading after 8 innings, so the odds were that something bad was due to happen. What the team does in the aftermath will determine if Wednesday night’s loss was ‘just baseball’ or a punch in the gut that sends this team into a funk.
Back to Adcock, however. Despite or actually, because of his excellent five innings of work last night, Nate may well find himself heading back up I-29 to Omaha this afternoon. A roster move is likely and Adcock’s the guy that is out of commission for at least the next three days. He can wave at Everett Teaford as they pass…probably not the last time that is going to happen this year.
When it comes to roster moves, however, that one is not the eye catcher. Before yesterday’s game, the Royals announced that Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi had both been promoted from Northwest Arkansas to Omaha. Those moves, very simply, mean that both could make their major league debuts by the All-Star Break and almost certainly puts them in position (with good performances, of course) to break camp with the big club for Opening Day 2013.
Myers was hitting .343/.414/.731 in 152 plate appearances this year in AA, after struggling through a .254/.353/.393 2011 campaign at the same level (416 plate appearances). By comparison, Eric Hosmer had a career total of just 211 AA plate appearances, where he hit .313/.365/.615. The other big bat in the organization, Mike Moustakas, spent 259 plate appearances in AA (absolutely destroying that league). If you want to erase the better part of Myers’ 2011 season, writing most of it off to nagging injuries, you could make the leap that Wil has spent about as much healthy time in AA as both Hosmer and Moustakas did.
Hosmer was promoted to Omaha over the off-season and enjoyed just 118 plate appearances there at the beginning of last season (.439/.525/.582) before heading to Kansas City. Moustakas, on the other hand, was promoted in the middle of 2010 and hit .293/.315/.564 over 236 plate appearances to finish out that year. He returned to the Storm Chasers to start 2011, hit .287/.347/.498 and was promoted to KC after another 250 plate appearances.
Now, both Hosmer and Moustakas played positions for which the Royals had openings at the big league level. Wilson Betemit was playing third in Kansas City and Kila Ka’aihue was playing first. Neither was hitting very well and neither was one of the organization’s darlings. Both were easy moves to make.
Myers, on the other hand, would be pushing out an outfielder. They just signed Alex Gordon to a long term deal, Jeff Francoeur has a two year deal that makes him hard to trade (and he’s FRENCHY for gods-sake!) and the team has Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain in center. Not to mention, that I don’t know that Myers could really handle center on an everyday basis in the majors.
Bottom line, I don’t know where Myers fits in this lineup without a drastic move or a big leap of faith (i.e. playing him in center). Despite that, the Royals did not promote him just for fun. Myers will likely amass 250 AAA plate appearances by the end of July, twice as many as Hosmer had and as many as Moose had in 2011. If he stays in Omaha all year, he will come pretty close to getting as many PA’s as Moustakas did in total.
Where he fits, I don’t know, but if Myers hits AAA pitching, we may well find out before the kids head back to school.
The obvious comp for Odorizzi is Danny Duffy. Danny threw 40 innings at AA in 2010, 42 in Omaha to start 2011 and was in Kansas City. By contrast Odorizzi threw 69 uneven innings in AA last year and then fired out 38 more this year at the same level. Jake struck out 47 batters in those 38 innings, walked just 10 and allowed only 27 hits. He was certainly ready to move up.
The Royals, of course, were more than ready for him to move up as well. With Danny Duffy down with Tommy John surgery and Mike Montgomery still struggling to find consistency, finding room for Odorizzi is not the problem. You can certainly make the case that Duffy might have been rushed, but Odorizzi (assuming he is effective) will have as many AAA innings as Duffy had by early July and should have 10 or 11 AAA starts under his belt by the end of that month.
There is no doubt in my mind that Jake Odorizzi, if effective in Omaha (and that is not an ‘if’ to be ignored), will be in Kansas City no later than August. There is no reason for him not to be.
From a service time perspective, when either Myers or Odorizzi comes up this year will have no effect on when they become eligible for arbitration or free agency. The only gaming of service time that the Royals would consider would be to keep them both in the minors until late May of next year. That is not something to be discounted, but also something that does not need to be decided right now, either.
If the team is hanging around in July, both of these guys might be the added boost to make the second half of 2012 really exciting. If the Royals have sunk into the ‘we might NOT lose 90 this year’ range, then maybe you keep them down and not start their clock until sometime in early 2013. Certainly, Jeff Francoeur will be more tradable in 2013 than he is right now due to his contract.
Those are all considerations, but Dayton Moore really did not move prospects last year with those sorts of timing issues in mind (rightly or wrongly). When the big names were ready, no matter how little time they had at AAA, Moore brought them up. I think the odds are very good that both Myers and Odorizzi are in Kansas City before September of this year.